Samuel Adams Irish Red | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

2,541 Ratings
Read the review
Samuel Adams Irish RedSamuel Adams Irish Red

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Pale and Caramel malts, and East Kent Goldings hops.

Added by WilliamPhilaPa on 08-24-2007

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,541 |  Reviews: 1,012
Photo of JohnFatAss
3.71/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep red copper color, the head faded fast but left some slight lacing on the sides of the glass.

You could call this the Iced Tea of Beers.
It has a tea like appearance and tea like taste.

Sweet malts and a mild hop bitterness.
Very well balanced.
Super easy to drink and very enjoyable.

This is one of those beers that you can't really say anything bad about, but just does not have enough flavor to make it a true stand out beer.

 448 characters

Photo of nach0king
4.24/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm not normally a massive fan of this style, but Sam Adams might just have won a convert.

A: Not too great. Minimal head, disappeared very quickly. Nice colour but nondescript otherwise.

S: Here's where things get special. Deliciously sweet, tangy malts on the nose. Hint of aniseed and licorice.

T: It gets even better. Honeycomb candy, a little bit of tartness, alcohol... tasty but also easy-drinking.

M: Not bad at all. Not too much to say - carbonation seems high for the style, but I like carbonation.

This is excellent and I'll be sure to pick up a few more bottles of it while in the season.

 605 characters

Photo of airforbes1
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Time to try my first beer from this year's fall variety pack!

This beer has a fizzy head and some cloudiness. Appealing enough to the eye. The smell is nothing spectacular. I detect some floral hops and some malt, and that's about it.

At first, all I taste is some mild bitterness. It seems like the beer is balanced to a fault: any taste from the malt or yeast overlaps with the bitterness from the hops. The tastes begin to diverge a little with subsequent sips -- am I tasting a touch of citrus and caramel?

What stands out the most is the smooth, slightly buttery finish. I didn't expect that, but I like it.

This beer isn't anything too exciting, but I find it to be pleasant and highly drinkable.

 708 characters

Photo of MidnightWatch
2.94/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Dark red. 1 finger head that quickly weakens.

S - Can't smell all that much. Just weak malts.

T - Caramel sugar. If I were a teacher of Irish Red I Wouldn't give this kid honor roll status. Nothing here is great, nothing here is even good.

M - Smooth, with sugary aftereffects.

O - Too bad Samuel Adams is the posterboy for craft brewing, yet I think that title is shifting, thankfully, they're beers are nothing special.

 432 characters

Photo of stephadelphia
2.48/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Drank this straight out of a chilled bottle.

A - Seems to have a little bit of froth/head in the bottle - cloudy and reddish in color (not surprising since it's an Irish red ale).

S - Smells pretty average, nothing too strong. Some notes of rye, malts.

T - Pretty basic and light. Didn't detect any real bitterness, and was able to taste a bit of a wheaty note at the very end.

M - Just enough carbonation, pretty pleasant. Fairly smooth but at the same time, a bit watery.

O - Overall, there are better Irish reds out there. I bought this in a Sam Adams variety pack (with Oktoberfest, Black Lager, Pumpkin Ale, etc.) so I'm not too disappointed, and will gladly drink both bottles in the case. I wouldn't go hunting for it, however. It's not bad, it's not fantastic. It's drinkable, and pleasant enough.

 813 characters

Photo of tykees88
3.07/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- This brew has a very pretty copper red color. The head is lacking, and the lacing is not very good. The beer is clear, but not really a nice red color like you'd want here.

S- Smells like rye and sweet malt. A hop presence is there with a nutty grass smell.

T- Tastes very similar to boston lager, with a bit of chocolate malt and honestly I taste rye. The EKG hops are nice I think giving the earthy flavor that I think many associate with this style.

M- Bready and chewy. You can't really drink it, it's a heavier beer.

O-It's average. I like it and would drink it again because it is palatable and with the right meal would probably be pretty good.

 658 characters

Photo of washburnkid
3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Two fingers of frothy thick beige head. Basic amber to red. Aromas of ... boston lager, with an extra floral hop on the nose. Some really mellow and somewhat unexciting flavors. Biscuity malt, a tad of the same floral hop on the nose. Not too bitter--it actually borders on sweet. Light mouth with a lower medium offering of carbonation. Thin cap of head, not much lacing.

 372 characters

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into standard pint glass: nice amber/brown color with a tan head at first that dissipates to a ring.

Smell is caramel malt sweetness, no bitterness detected.

Taste is big caramely malt sweetness with some notes of toffee and hints at hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is just right for this malty of a beer, nice lingering flavors but not cloying.

Overall a solid red ale, not overly malty and pretty clean flavors.

 418 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.18/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is a deep ruby red that quickly brightens under direct light. A big, cream colored, foamy head starts around two inches and quickly recedes to a thin film while leaving a thick coating along he glass. Lots of rich malt aromas in the nose, with some light roasty/toasty highlights. Flavors are malty, but sharp, riding a highly carbonated body. Roasted and slightly smokey highlights keep the sweetness in check, and the beer has a somewhat sharp, burnt aftertaste, with a tangy, slightly sour malt overtone. Finish is tangy and slightly cloying, with a coating feel. Pretty standard for the style, but a bit on the middle of the road side compared to other Irish.

 712 characters

Photo of setexascustoms
3.38/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into a pint glass.

A- Crystal clear reddish copper, minimal head even after a rather aggressive pour. Nice lacing though.

S- Sweet malts, pleasant. Maybe I'm crazy, but it seems like I'm picking up some banana in there.

T- Smooth, with some sweetness from the malts. A little roasted bitterness in the finish, no banana :) Again, pleasant, but nothing special.

M- Nice medium body, carbonation seems just right.

O- I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't seek it out. Not too familiar with the style, but I look forward to trying some other examples.

 551 characters

Photo of mocktm
3.43/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from fall variety pack, into a pint glass...

Copper red hue, egg-white head that lacks any sort of retention and glass decor. Meh...

Aromas of caramel and some mild fruit and nuts.

Buttery with distinct caramel and toffee flavors, moderate hop bitterness, but malts all the way on this one.

Medium bodied, slight creaminess.

Overall, okay, but nothing to go wild about. Standard Irish style ale.

 407 characters

Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.11/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Ba Review #59
Served On: 9/8/2011
Glassware: Pint Glass

This was from the Sam Adams Fall mixed 12 pack.

Look: Very clear deep reddish brown with carbonation bubbles everywhere. Head was a small 1 finger of light tan foam.

Smell: Nose was sweet caramel malts, Sam Adams twang, some butterscotch.

Taste: Biscuity caramel. Rather watery on the palate. Nothing too outrageous here. There is a nice little spice kick in the finish. Similar to the Boston Ale minus the hops. Infact I still say they use a Boston Ale wort as a base for many of their beers.

What can I say - It’s another average mediocre offering from Boston Beer. I think the ABV was actually bumped up a little on this years release.

 702 characters

Photo of SDtastentune
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep ruby red/copper, pours with a slight bubble head but dissipated fast. No lacing.

S - Caramel sweetness mixed in with some malty notes.

T - Caramel/toffee and rich bread/maltyness. Some sweet brown sugar like thing, but mostly malty and caramel. Aftertaste is slim but kinda there.

M - Fizzy small bubble carbonation, kinda watery and thin though, aftertaste is slim.

O - Overall a nice drinker for the red lovers out there, but on the thin side of things.... But... most reds are thin. Has good taste and smell, but not enough after taste or pungent smell. Good drinker red! Came with the seasonal "Harvest Collection"!

 633 characters

Photo of vfgccp
3.13/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep amber color with nice red highlights light chestnut. Perfectly clear. light head with very little lacing.

S- Sweet smell with notes of nutty warmth in the middle. Malty middle and back end.

T- Warm malty front end, with a middle roasted nut middle. Finish is very roasty and dry.

M- Smooth with low carbonation, it has the bite and acidity of carbonation but very low bubble and brightness. Flavor has some bold / warm characteristics.

O- A nice smooth and roasty beer, medium drinkability but not very impressive for a red. Very average.

 552 characters

Photo of SkitzIrish3
3.43/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber and ends with minimal head. Smells buttery, caramel. The palate says: malty sweetness well balanced with a light dose of hops. This is closer to Smithwick's in Ireland than Smithwick's own imported version. Nothing amazing about this beer, but it does the trick.

 281 characters

Photo of afdempse
3.21/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, "Enjoy By" date of Jan 2012.

Pours a medium copper color. Could use a bit more "red" from crystal malts. White foam dissipates quickly, leaving decent lacing on the sides of the glass.

Aroma? Absent. Perhaps some faint spicy hop and malt notes but you have to work to detect them.

Caramelized sugary crystal malt flavors and hop oil. Decent maltiness that strengthens the body of the beer. Slight diacetyl that's not entirely out of place. Astringency from the hops and an odd twangy side note that seems to be somewhat of a calling card for Sam Adams' specialty beers.

Mouthfeel is average - enhanced by the malt, but sabotaged by astringency. The finish is marred by some residual sweetness that sticks around longer than I'd like.

Overall, this beer has promise, but needs to be cleaned up. The odd characters put forth by the hops and/or yeast detract from the drinkability and crispness of an otherwise good example of the style.

 954 characters

Photo of chicagobill13
4.08/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Looks: Dont' like the color or smell of this beer. You don't judge until you start drinking this beer.

Taste: Smooth and tastey beer. I love the malty beer. I really love this beer. I am not a red ale type of drinker. This one as few Sam Adams beer have impressive and stun me. I don't think and believe that Boston Beer Company is a very good brewery. They are alive because they were one of the first and now they have so much money they can put ads everywhere.

I would love to try this beer on draft. Maybe one day in Boston. I heard they are not that big in Boston. That's just crazy.

 591 characters

Photo of scratch69
3.76/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured a bottle into a Samuel Adams Glass.

Appearance - A clear coppery-red with about a fingers worth of head and a small amount of lace.

Smell- Not much of an aroma but I detect a small amount of hops.

Taste - Caramel malts at the start with a slight hop bitterness at the end. Nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with alot of carbonation.

Overall - Not bad. Not one of the best from Samuel Adams but definitely not one of the worst. I would drink this beer again.

 480 characters

Photo of doopydoogle
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clean and clear reddish amber with a creamy head consistent of large bubbles that dissipates at a medium pace with some lingering lace.

S - Metallic malts and hints of herbal and earthy hops. Lingering alcohol esters and a slight fruitiness round out the nose.

T - Big caramel and toffee up front followed by chewy bread and biscuits with a very subtle hop that emerges and lingers through the finish. The brew is slightly sweet and can't quite figure out where it wants to go. The malts stand out but aren't too distinct, while the hops don't really do much. The characteristic Sam Adam tangy malt finish is somewhat there, but muddled by the stickiness of the mouth.

M - Good carbonation, sticky, with a good syrupy coating over the mouth.

O - Not bad, but not too distinct. For a red ale its character is somewhat lacking. It seems that they couldn't quite get where they wanted to go with this one as the malts don't make much of a statement nor do the hops.

 970 characters

Photo of tvv375ia
3.16/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A-nice copper color topped by a 2 finger head that faded to 1/8 cap

S,T- smell and taste are about the same light maltiness without much else

M- decent carbonation not too watery

O-it looked really good when I first poured it so maybe I was expecting a littl more flavor, it's a good beer not to complex

 348 characters

Photo of woosterbill
3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from the new fall mixed pack into a Duvel tulip. Thanks to my buddy JM for saving me this one for a style tick - number 96; still not sure how I haven't reviewed an Irish Red yet, but here goes.

A: Clear copper body with a finger of coarse tan foam. Decent retention and lacing. Quite nice.

S: Rich, nutty caramel malt along with some spicy hops. Simple and pretty good.

T: Sweet malts up front, followed by some drier bready notes and finished with a clean hop bitterness. Nothing fancy, but solid.

M: Medium body, somewhat prickly carbonation. Meh.

O: Drinkable, fairly balanced, and entirely forgettable. About what I expect from this style, and certainly a few steps up from Killian's when it comes to widely available reds.


 755 characters

Photo of clint1019
2.58/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Amber brown in color with a cream colored head.

S - Not much, light malty aroma if anything.

T - Light malty flavor with a light hop bitterness.

M - light bodied.

O - Not that great of a beer. Not much in the way of flavor or aroma. Probably one of my least favorite beers I've tried from Sam Adams.

 307 characters

Photo of DirtyPenny
3.47/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank it right from the bottle during hurricane Irene and a power outage. Let it be known that the lacing told me to kill. Second bottle had no such murderous intent

A: Rusty ruddy red, with a thin beige head. Seriously though, the lacing spelled out "kill." So, yeah. This is apparently Son of Sam's Irish Red(rum).

S: What's that bottle? You want me to smell you? You smell of yeasty bread. Really that's about it. Why did you want me to smell you? You're crazy, man.

T: Draining the red liquid from this bottle results in the sensation of bready, faintly sweet caramel and pale malts on the tongue, giving way to a minimally sour sting on the downswing. Slight hop spiciness is like needles being ever so faintly dragged across your mouth, just enough to let you know it's there, but not enough to cause any harm.

M: Medium-bodied with aggressive carbonation that keeps stabbing and stabbing and stabbing...

O: Who am I am why am I here? What's this red stuff everywhere? Oh god, the bottle broke! (not really)

In short, another above average Sam Adams offering, though nothing that will drive you mad.

 1,111 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber with a red hue; there's a 1/4" of head that quickly fades to nothing. Smells of rich caramel malt and mild hops. The taste is similar to the smell; rich caramel malts and mild hops for balance. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth; very drinkable.

Not a bad beer, but the flavor here is neither bold nor impressive. Overall, rather forgettable.

 365 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.92/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A good solid light caramel colored head with very uniform bubbles and soapy is created off the pour. Body is a very dark and clear Indian red color. No lacing comes from the drink at all.

Nose is a nice simple grassy malt and toasty dry sense. Solid and simple and noticeable and good.

Taste is malty, just a little fizzy, but not overbearing. Slow rolling malts in the mid palate compete with some carbonation, after finish and swallow doesn't bring much else but some rooftop mouth dry-ness.

Overall, fairly solid and straightforward for the style, don't mind this it will do in a pinch.

 641 characters

Samuel Adams Irish Red from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.56 out of 5 based on 2,541 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More